President Obama poked fun at himself and reporters during Saturday nights Gridiron dinner. The dinner is a function of the Gridiron Club and Foundation, an elite group of journalists founded in Washington in 1885. The foundation is available by membership invite only.
After Bob Woodward attacked White House aide Gene Sperling and threatened him in an email, President Obama told the dinner’s guests, “We noticed that some folks couldn’t make it this evening. It’s been noted that Bob Woodward sends his regrets, which Gene Sperling predicted.” President Obama then added, ” I have to admit this whole brouhaha had me a little surprised. Who knew Gene could be so intimidating? (Laughter.) Or let me phrase it differently — who knew anybody named Gene could be this intimidating? (Laughter)”
Going after Woodward further, President Obama told those in attendance, “Now I know that some folks think we responded to Woodward too aggressively. But hey, when has — can anybody tell me when an administration has ever regretted picking a fight with Bob Woodward? (Laughter.) What’s the worst that could happen? (Laughter and applause.)”
Talking about the presses complaints over access and transparency, President Obama added, “Now, since I don’t often speak to a room full of journalists — (laughter) — I thought I should address a few concerns tonight. Some of you have said that I’m ignoring the Washington press corps — that we’re too controlling. You know what, you were right. I was wrong and I want to apologize in a video you can watch exclusively at whitehouse.gov. (Laughter.)”
The President then went on to acknowledge the work of Ed Henry, telling those in attendance, “While we’re on this subject, I want to acknowledge Ed Henry, who is here — who is the fearless leader of the Washington press corps now. (Applause.) And at Ed’s request, tonight I will take one question from the press.” The POTUS then added, “Jay, do we have a question? (Laughter.) Surprisingly, it’s a question from Ed Henry. (Laughter.) “Mr. President, will you be taking any questions tonight?” (Laughter.) I’m happy to answer that. No, Ed, I will not. (Laughter.)”
While President Obama was quick to joke with the press corps members in attendance, he was also quick to praise their integrity. According to President Obama:
“In an age when all it takes to attract attention is a Twitter handle and some followers, it’s easier than ever to get it wrong. But it’s more important than ever to get it right. And I am grateful for all the journalists who do one of the toughest jobs there is with integrity and insight and dedication — and a sense of purpose — that goes beyond a business model or a news cycle.”
This week we have seen quite a bit of the playful Obama side after a massive snowfall President Obama posted the following “Snow Day’ photo:
During the Gridiron dinner, President Obama also poked fun at Marco Rubio, the President picked up a class of water, took a sip, and then put it down. Obama then proclaimed, “That, Marco Rubio, is how you take a sip of water.”
Taking a jab at the Republican base, Obama declared:
“I am too skinny to run [for the GOP]. At least that’s what my friend Chris Christie keeps telling me.”
Obama poked fun at himself during the dinner, at the GOP, and at those who have attacked his administration; yet, for one night, it was all in jest and worth a few big laughs.
What do you think of President Obama’s Gridiron dinner jokes?